How to Keep Monsoon Diseases at Bay!

19th

The Monsoons hit the south western coast of India right on time this year, making the whole country heave a collective sigh of relief.

Now that our biggest preoccupation has been addressed, the country hopes, the rains will continue their reign over all parts of India until at least October.

The rains bring cheer for the most part, but they also bring misery (Chennai and Mumbai floods come readily to mind). However, they can hardly be held responsible for our bad civic planning, callous land encroachments and mindless destruction of environment.

For parents, the season poses twin challenges: first is getting the kids ready for school and the second is worrying about flooded roads, falling tree branches, severed power lines and careless drivers when they are away at school.

Wet uniform, soggy socks and sodden school bags do their bit to add to the misery and the grim picture about life during the monsoons we have been trying to paint is complete! Well, almost, save for the most important of them all—how to keep monsoon diseases at bay! [Read more…]

Prep your Toddler for Preschool

12th (1)

Parents of toddlers are at an interesting juncture in their life right now: on the one hand, they feel that their precious little baby is too young to be at school, but on the other they—especially when both parents are working professionals— feel a little outside help with the kid would not be unwelcome.

Either way, the moment all parents have been dreading and looking forward to at the same time is here—your baby is fast growing up, and in most cases, a little too ‘faster’ than you would ideally like. After all, we humans have come to expect to have the best of both worlds.

Your toddler is ready to take the next giant stride—she is now considered “big” enough to be on her own, but just about. You hunt for a preschool, and after a round of tut-tutting about the various aspects you were made to cough up for admission, you are now ready for the big day. Or are you?

If this is your first time and you are labouring under the impression that depositing your kid at the preschool would be a cakewalk, you have got another think coming! After all, what can go wrong with as a simple task as driving her to school, planting a kiss or two on the kid and walking away whistling a jaunty little tune. [Read more…]

A Post for Parents to Understand The Essence of Meditation

A Post for Parents to Understand The Essence of Meditation

Compilation of Social Media Ramblings on the subject by Jayaram Rajaram

This is a post for parents to understand the essence of Meditation and Oneness in Diversity. While experiencing the wonders of meditation and yoga is ideal, understanding with clarity what India has to offer is important if we are to educate our children with these core values of oneness. This post is a compilation of my comments on an international mediation post on FB which led to an insightful discussion with people from world over ( The original post is here https://www.facebook.com/NewPerspectivesByShared/videos/vb.149439235544476/221682404986825/ ). I felt there is a lot that the world needs to know about what Bharath , one of the world’s oldest civilizations has to offer. While the world is embracing meditation and yoga, it is high time we Indian parents start taking advantage of these phenomenal tools and also help our children take advantage of them for immense lifelong benefits like heightened intuition, enhanced memory, clarity of thought, understanding core secularism through an experience and feeling of oneness etc.

So here goes:

Meditation comes from Sanatana Dharma, Yoga and Vedantam which is the core of the Advaitham philosophy and school of thought. This is a gift from India (Bharath) to the world. We believe in Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti which means there is only one Truth but the paths are many. We do not need to convert anyone to anything. We allow people to seek the truth and believe in Vasudaiva Kutumbam which means the world is our family and the same one God resides in every creature. Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu – Let all creatures be free and happy, let my thoughts and actions in this birth contribute to their freedom and happiness. Sanatana Dharma now called Hinduism is timeless and is not polytheistic as propagandists make it out to be. It is pluralistic and The one God we refer to as Brahman or Paramatman can manifest in any form the worshiper can relate to and love. We accept Ganesha, Allah, Jesus, Rama, Krishna , Shiva, Saraswati, Durga or any other God or name one wishes to give the one God as manifestation of the one Truth or God. We honour God realized souls or Gurus who can guide mere mortals to this one Truth. No dogma, purely individual and not against physical / modern science. Meditate and find balance for a peaceful world that promotes oneness in diversity and not sameness. We accept all religions as true without expecting any reciprocity , as expecting reciprocity is desire and unmet desire leads to anger which is futile and removes the benefits of meditation and yoga :) So we believe man and woman move from truth to truth and hence nobody is wrong or nobody is to be condemned. Even polytheistic religions of the world or schools of thought or even atheists are not to be condemned (and are not condemned by Sanatana Dharma) and they too can benefit immensely from meditation and yoga as they are for all of humanity without any discrimination. In a nutshell meditation is for every human being!

meditation
When one meditates and enters the no-thought zone they slowly realize God or the source within. We call this nirguna bhakti. This means the source has no form as is also stated in Christianity and Islam. One could call this God consciousness , Christ Consciousness, Brahman consciousness etc. The essence is that any picture of Christ, the Kaaba stone or deities in Hinduism are aids for the spiritual child to achieve one pointedness of mind and to give a personality/attributes or association to easily focus and slowly move inwards to realize the formless source within. For this one has to eliminate the mind through practice. Not easy but a slow and steady process. The breath controls the nervous system and thoughts is what some schools of yoga talk about. We only have control over our breath. In essence if we master our breathing slowly over time we can get into deeper meditative states and manage life’s situations with a better sense of balance. Slowly we will realize that we are all ONE. The division is caused by ego or what is referred to as Maya. Love , oneness and mutual respect are the need of the hour. We mustn’t just tolerate one another, we have to respect each other and our paths from our very core.

Further, Christ, The Prophet, Rama , Krishna, Buddha, Guru Gobind Singh, Sidhas, Sapta Rishis, Jagad gurus have all walked this Earth at some point and are all God realized souls who have shown the way to millions and continue to inspire them. We have to learn from all of them without getting carried away by political versions of any religion that seeks control and blind belief without seeking, as that causes huge problems for everyone. In Sanatana Dharma we are very clear that nobody is superior or inferior- we are all one despite our bodily appearances and differences in approach to the One God.

If we read and introspect on teachings by Jagadgurus (Gurus who have experienced the Truth) or all realized souls from any religion or spiritual path we would never condemn any religion. In all cases it is unrealized /ignorant people who mess up the message and meaning handed over to them by realized souls, for control and dominance or out of sheer fear and ignorance. If we seek and practice our faith without the need to dominate and control others the world will be peaceful. While Sanatana Dharma is individual with no one person starting the religion and with thousands of scriptures and timeless Vedas discovered through meditation and penance by rishis, even founders of today’s organized religions were  God realized souls who understood oneness. The issue of bigotry comes in when mere mortals and followers of any religion misinterpret texts without seeking and understanding things in perspective and context and apply it blindly to dominate others who they feel they are superior to when the message of their religion is equality and oneness. A percentage of people of all religions without exception are guilty of feeling superior to another and brainwashing others to believe so and there lies the problem. When we meditate I believe we have to keep telling ourselves that all people and all creatures are manifestations of the One God and  parts of the whole or rather the whole in parts intrinsically interwoven and connected though invisibly. I pray and meditate for this perfect world everyday .

Meditation is a great way to understand that the jivatma (body and self identification) and paramatma (our source/ God what is within and keeps us alive) is one and the same. After knowing this, one must slowly reject the body as ”Not Me’ and dwell on the source.

Having said all that I have,  I owe my very little (almost insignificant) understanding  of the subject to all the mahaans who have walked this Punya Bhoomi called Bharath. We can all learn much more from the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya, Kanchi Paramacharya, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Paramahamsa Yogananda and countless realized souls who have walked amongst mere mortals and left behind a wealth of knowledge that cannot be learnt in one lifetime . Best is to meditate and slowly tap into universal consciousness.

So, whatever your faith or religion is, walk into your place of worship, whether church, gurudwara, monastery, temple , mosque, synagogue etc and slowly ‘just be’. Enter the no thought zone, focus on your breath or start by just one pointedly focusing​ on the image of God of your faith (if any image or form exists/can be given ) without asking for anything or praying for anything- You can do this at home or in a park or even in office, on the plane, in a bus- just about anywhere! Trust and be mindful of the present moment and acknowledge any thoughts and then bring back focus to the No Thought Zone. Absolutely no need to pay anyone any money and no need to convert to any other faith or religion . Stay in the religion of your birth and understand with confidence that we are all one.

The more spiritual, inclusive knowledge is shared, the more peaceful our world will be is what I firmly believe. This is not my knowledge, it is knowledge from the timeless Vedas with no one source. It cannot and must not be attributed to any human being as rishis who meditated discovered the sound of the Vedas through austerities. It is ‘Aupurusasya’ meaning no man or woman wrote the Vedas- Their vibrations exist as part of the cosmos (what modern science probably calls the Big bang). Vibrations create and sustain life and every creature and object has a vibration. As humans we have the option to tune in to the right frequencies through meditation and yoga because what is inside us (the microcosm) is actually a replica of what is there in the Macrocosm (cosmos, space, multiple universes etc) is what the Vedas say

As a parent I pray that every child learns to meditate, so at least the next generations learn that we are all one and learn to live peacefully with mutual respect, warm-heartedness and compassion for everyone.

The Forgotten Fun Games

10th (1)

Nowadays when you see kids with their heads stuck on a gadget, you go into a mini flashback – Your mom shouting your name asking you to come home for lunch, and you wanting to finish that last over. You had your own collection of marbles; your skipping rope had the extra jingles attached. Ahh! Memories!

Before the invention of any electronic gadgets, the so called ‘80’s & 90’s’ kids have had their share of the best gala time. They were physically, socially & mentally active.

This century kids have a favourite question, “What did you do for entertainment during summer holidays in your younger days?”

This is a moment with a faraway look in your eyes and a happy smile playing on your lips, you begin…

‘We went to the library, you know, it’s a big building that houses rows of books,’ you begin on a sarcastic note, ‘and we researched our subject using many books. ‘As far as entertainment,’ you add, clearly warming to the subject, ‘we played many wonderful games all day.’

Impressed by the wicked gleam in your eyes, your kids cry in unison: ‘Tell us all about it.’ You send out a silent prayer for being bestowed upon moments like these that make parenthood worth all that trouble, and say, ‘OK, will tell you about the more popular ones; there were many, mind you… [Read more…]

How to Manage a Fussy Eater

27th (1)

Have you felt like screaming on top of your lungs when the food (which you took hours to make) gets spit out in a second? You can’t shout – You can’t show your anger anywhere, but smilingly cajole your kid to take another morsel.

Yes, it’s tiring – Yes, it’s demotivating and No, you can’t starve them!

How to then make them eat? Firstly, you relax! Here are some simple ways which can reduce (not eliminate) your troubles with a fussy eater.

Children who are fussy eaters (also known as picky eaters) are particular about what they will eat. Sometimes the child will eat a small portion of the food and may refuse to eat at all at other times. Another exasperating trait they exhibit is ‘food neophobia’ or refusal to eat new foods.

‘Food training’ should start at an early age–the earlier the better. This is because children display their aversion to food to every stage of growing up. For instance, toddlers they may refuse to eat lumpy food, while older children are known to develop a passionate dislike for vegetables.

Kids are fussy eaters and they are, by no means, an exception but rather the norm. But fear not, and try out these useful tips we have put together for you: [Read more…]

Managing your Toddler Tantrums

20th

The word toddler is derived from the word ‘to toddle,’ meaning to walk unsteadily—which also means your little bundle of joy has just been empowered. In addition to her impressive lung power that regularly wakes up the neighbours at night and sends the resting stray dogs on the street outside scurrying for cover, she is now up on her feet and can take some unsteady steps.

The word ‘tantrum’ has a sinister ring to it because this handy tool is not just the privilege of disgruntled babies, but is known to be used effectively by grown-ups too, leaving considerable devastation in the households in its wake. But, by and large, young children tend to be associated with this ‘act of uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration.’

So, why do children throw tantrum in the first place? Children usually figure out that the best way to draw parents’ attention is to make their presence felt—the louder the better—when they are a little older than a year. It is an age where their needs and wants are growing, but they are limited by not being  able to express themselves about what they want, or what bothers them.

This limitation may result in the child being frustrated to the extent of resorting to obnoxious behaviour to gain attention. The tantrums may last for a short time, but are known to extend up to a good half hour or more, driving the harassed parents clean up the wall! Tantrums lasting longer than this need to be investigated further as it may be symptomatic of a larger problem.

Let’s look at the different flavours of temper tantrums in children and how to deal with the resultant behavioural issues associated with these outbursts: [Read more…]

Has your Child gone Internet Wild?

13th

A recent social media post we received contained a composite image: In the first picture titled ‘Then’ a mother is seen dragging her dirty and badly scratched up young son home from the playground. In the second picture titled ‘Now’ the same mother is throwing her dazed-looking son—who’s mid-air, and still holding on to the joystick of the video game he’d been playing with—out on his ear.

The illustration aptly sums up an everyday situation every parent is faced with—internet addiction in children, especially those in the age group 6-14. Is the situation as bad as it is made out to be or is it an alarmist view of a harmless activity? The opinion is clearly divided right along the centre, and truth—as always—lies somewhere in between.

One school of thought thinks that parents need to seize the raging ‘internet bull’ by its horns before it enters the proverbial china shop. The other opines the benefits of making your kids net-savvy(if they are already not, that is) clearly far outweigh the former view, and it is safe to look the other way—for the time-being at least—and ignore the elephant in the room.

The trouble, however, is that the enforcers are not beyond the obvious charms of the net and routinely commit the ‘crime’ which they are supposed to curb. In other words, parents are as guilty as the children when it comes to unreasonable dependence on gadgets and internet. [Read more…]

How to Help your Kid Develop Social Skills

6th (1)

Most of have gone through those awkward moments in our younger days when a seemingly long-lost uncle came a-visiting and your mum summoned you–from wherever you were taking refuge, having gone through the same routine several times before–to say hello to him.

You muttered under your breath, and proceeded to rack your brain with considerable urgency to search for any helpful information tucked away in the deep confines of your brain that might help you come out with flying colours in the family identification parade.

Your mother beamed at you with obvious pride in the initial stages of the said parade, while the uncle looked reasonably optimistic of you pulling this off. But alas, with each passing non-productive minute, your mother began to turn a delicate shade of purple, while the yet-to-be-identified uncle started mentally rehearsing nice things to say to diffuse the explosive situation.

You might be forgiven for failing to identify a fellow clan member whom you had neither met before in your young life, nor had any intention of meeting in future, if you could help it. Basically, you had no idea about suitable things you should say (or not say) to you uncle.

In your case, you exhibited a behavioural trait that could potentially have turned you into a recluse but for the timely intervention from your parents which helped you shed your dislike for meeting people. However, social awkwardness is a growing source of anxiety in many families.

Let’s see at what age do kids begin to mingle socially. The first indicator is how well the child gets along with other children in the school nursery because children generally get along with each other well and are only too willing to share things with others. [Read more…]

Sort out Sibling Rivalry and Build a Healthy Relationship

27th

 

Have been at your wits just sorting out differences between your lil ones? It becomes tiring emotionally (& physically, sometimes) to spectre rivalry amongst siblings.

Just remember, we are beings evolved from apes, so survival instincts are always at peak. The challenge from other competing members of the family is fierce and the need to prove your superiority over your siblings is vital to chances of your own survival.

However, don’t exhaust yourself about a seemingly common occurrence which is considered an integral part of growing up. It is always better to address any problem at a root stage but with a softer touch. Try not to get overemphasized and make it a deep-rooted dislike for one’s brothers and sisters.

So parents with one or more children who are looking to expand your families, either biologically or via adoption, be ready to assume the role of a referee and sort out endless instances of rivalry, also known as sibling rivalry.

Being a parent has both good & sometimes bad stress. The long-term effects of sibling rivalry depend solely on how early parents recognise the signs and how well they handle it. Here are some quick tips: [Read more…]

Ways to Prepare your Kids for Exams

20th (1)

Examination time is that time of the year when kids are busy cramming in all the lessons covered over a period of several months in a few hours before the exams.

It is also that time of the year when kids regret not sticking to their resolution of devoting a certain amount of time for studies every day.

Parents often complain about how exams are as much of a testing time for them as it is for their children. But can we do something to make life easier for both–children as well as their parents?

Children regard exams as a burden that should be done away with. They may have a point there, but it is also true that exams are a very important part of their academic life.

Now that the final examinations are just a few months away, this is a good time to explore the ways to get parents and students to start preparing for the exams. There isn’t a magic formula to do this right, but following points may be able to give you to formulate your own strategy. [Read more…]